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President Trump’s Tweet Prompts Writer To Create A Celebration Of Persian, Iranian Culture

Throughline at Donut Panic offers music, food, readings

Photo credit: Rebecca Romani

Farhad Bahrami (far left) and the musical group Dornob will be bringing a variety of Middle East music to Sunday's Throughline: A Celebration of Persian/Iranian Poetry and Music at Donut Panic.

This Sunday, Donut Panic will host Throughline: A Celebration of Persian/Iranian Poetry and Music.

Rebecca Romani is not Iranian, but she lived in Morocco and fell in love with Arab and Middle Eastern culture. She began a project called Arabs Anonymous/No Hay Moros more than a decade ago that was designed to promote the work of Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern American artists and filmmakers here in the U.S. But recent events prompted her to create a new project under that banner.

Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted a warning to Iran that he had “targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!"

Romani decided she needed to retaliate but in a constructive manner. Her answer arrives this Sunday as Throughline: A Celebration of Persian/Iranian Poetry and Music.

She noted that the targets identified included The Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Persepolis, The Persian Gardens, The Hyrcanian Forests, and Armenian monasteries and "I thought that a very good response to this would be a celebration of Persian/Iranian music and literature and invite people to come and hear it and to experience it in an effort to sort of generate discussion about culture and heritage sites and how we're all interconnected really through this."

She partnered with musician Farhad Bahrami (whose band Dornob will be performing on Sunday) to curate an event that would mix new and traditional music as well as readings of new and classical writing.

"I think news stories and documentaries are really great. They have their place but the idea of the more personal exposure for people is very important," Romani said. "There is a saying that If you get to know a group of people or a country's culture, it's a little harder to invade and bomb and destroy them when you know them. And so the idea is to bring this forward and to have people engage with each other and to see and hear the expression of another culture and to realize that it's not scary, that it's something they can enjoy, and that to give them a sense of maybe curiosity and also a sense of celebration to celebrate this all together."

Romani also wants to make people aware of how deeply influenced we may be by Persian and Iranian culture.

"Iranian/Persian culture goes back thousands and thousands of years and it is part of the base of Western culture, even if we don't know about it consciously. It's part of our heritage, too. And so people [reading at the event] will be choosing their own text from well-known Iranian/Persian writers and then they will be reading their own work and that comes from the idea of 'throughline,' that the structure of Persian poetry has really influenced Western poetry in imagery, in structure. and we continue to use it to this day. And so through the words of these writers, the Iranian writers that they choose and their own words, we'll be listening to both."

Throughline: A Celebration of Persian/Iranian Poetry and Music is part of a larger series that will include films and readings at San Diego Central Library and other venues. Sunday’s event at Donut Panic is the casual kick-off and begins at 6 p.m. It will offer music, food and readings of new and classic works. The poets include Ali Ashouri, Stacy Ardis Dyson, Patrick St. Pierre and Mary Reilly.

NOTE: Rebecca Romani is also a guest blogger for Cinema Junkie and writes about Arab cinema.

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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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